I am heartbroken at the latest outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
What part of “war is bad” was unclear?
Hamas committed war crimes
Hamas massacred Israeli civilians. That was outrageous and unacceptable.
The emerging details are truly horrific. Hamas perpetrated a brutal massacre, including widespread atrocities and kidnappings.
The victims murdered by Hamas last weekend were peacefully going about their lives. Most were on farms. Some were kids enjoying life at a music festival. They posed no threat to anyone. They were just ordinary people: people like you and me.
And Hamas senselessly slaughtered well over a thousand of these innocents in a single day.
There can be no justification for such outrageous cruelty.
Which is why it’s so disturbing to hear that high-profile student groups at such well-respected American institutions of higher learning as Harvard and Tufts are releasing public statements that endorse the actions of Hamas. This is beyond comprehension. What is wrong with you people? You endorse terrorism and mass murder and senseless violence in the name of “antiracism?” You are messed up in the head.
Does anyone remember the 1960s? No? It was before my time, too; but from what my parents told me, and from what I have read about those years, and from the music that was created during those years: the antiwar movement at the time was…. wait for it… ANTI WAR. In those days, college students did not endorse senseless violence and horrific atrocities. Instead, they were opposed to it on principle, as they should be.
But now, college students celebrate atrocities and endorse the perpetrators.
It’s extremely disturbing to witness how far from the path our modern society has strayed.
And then Israel committed war crimes in reprisal
Someone else’s bad behavior does not excuse your own bad behavior.
Remember that, people!
Someone else’s bad behavior does not excuse your own bad behavior. We all must choose to do the right thing: even when it’s hard, even when we are hurt.
Collective punishment is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
Cutting off the food supply to a civilian population is a war crime.
Israel has cut off the food supply to the Palestinian Territories, and bombed the civilian infrastructure. Such actions do nothing to improve the security situation. It is purely an act of revenge.
And while we can understand why Israelis would want to take revenge after suffering such a vicious attack, we must not endorse it.
By taking the actions it has taken, and engaging in tit-for-tat retaliations with civilian victims in the crosshairs: Israel has lowered itself to the same level as the terrorists, and ensured that this conflict will spiral out of control.
Send in heavily armored patrol squads, search house to house, confiscate weapons, and arrest or kill militants when you find them. That’s the only way to take immediate action against an entrenched terrorist organization: as the American soldiers who served in Iraq know all too well.
But that’s not what Israel has chosen to do. Instead, they bombed hospitals.
There are no good guys in this story: only innocent victims on both sides… and culpable perpetrators on both sides.
We must look within
As for the question, raised by some of my conservative colleagues, of whether or not American foreign aid money was filtered through nefarious organizations and ultimately ended up funding the terrorist attack which sparked this latest outbreak of violence: I can’t speak to its veracity, but the allegations are disturbing enough that we should definitely investigate them and find out the truth. If we inadvertently funded terrorism, then we need to know it, and make sure that never happens again.
In the meantime, I continue to believe that a divided Israel-Palestine will always be at war with itself. The only long-term solution is a republican-style democracy, including all the peoples of the region, guaranteeing representation and democratic power to the Jewish and to the Palestinian residents alike, under a single central government that provides for the security and well-being of all the peoples of the United Territories of Israel-Palestine: as I proposed in my 2008 book of political philosophy, Principles for a Self-Directed Society. I recognize that persuading either side of this idea’s basic practicality will be extremely difficult, since both sides continue to hold fast to the Highlander notion that “There can be only one winner,” and each side is determined to be that winner. But that’s no way to run a proper democracy. Under a proper democracy, everybody wins. If they can’t figure it out for themselves, then, well, we were able to impose democracy on Germany after World War II, and that eventually turned out okay. But I don’t want to go there. It would really be preferable if the Israelis and the Palestinians could work this out for themselves: peacefully.
Because war is bad.